Nathan Reardon: NSW will be our toughest test yet

Joe Burns of Queensland bats during the Matador BBQs One Day Cup match between Victoria and Queensland at Blacktown International Sportspark on October 9, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)
Joe Burns of Queensland bats during the Matador BBQs One Day Cup match between Victoria and Queensland at Blacktown International Sportspark on October 9, 2015 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

THE Queensland Bulls have made a bit of a habit in the past few years of sliding under the radar and happily taking on the status as underdog.

And quite often, we have jumped out of the ground and beaten a more-favoured team to get the chocolates.

We're comfortable with that, which is just as well because there haven't been too many people wanting to argue with us being the underdogs coming into our make-or-break Matador Cup one-dayer against NSW in Sydney.

It's a day/nighter at Drummoyne Oval, a well-presented Sydney grade ground that has a good pitch and new lights.

Our coach Phil Jaques has played a fair bit of cricket around Sydney in his days with the NSW Blues and he thinks it will suit us.

Did I mention our opponents? We're taking on the Austral . . . sorry, the NSW one-day team. The Blues are star-studded all right. They left out Mitchell Starc for our game, and replaced him with Josh Hazlewood.

The Blues were the big winners from the postponed tour of Bangladesh, fielding 11 players with international experience for their undefeated run so far in the Matador Cup. It's not a bad thing actually.

We've mixed some good work with some less impressive stuff so far in the tournament, but with three games remaining, this will be our biggest challenge.

There's no doubt it hurt to lose to South Australia with a few balls to go on the weekend, and if we were ever going to redeem ourselves after that, this game tonight is our chance.

Usman Khawaja is hoping to be back following his enforced break with a sore hamstring, and if he is right to go, then I can imagine he and Joe Burns will be very keen to springboard off the mini-camp the Australian squad (the real one, not just NSW) held during the week.

Joey is hitting them very well in the nets, but hasn't really had the chance for an extended bat so far, with a few early over dismissals.

Hopefully the Bulls fans find the time to tune into GEM for our match and we give them something to cheer about.
Speaking of cheering, good on Ash Barty for following her heart this week.

Former professional tennis player Ashleigh Barty (left) looks on to Brisbane Heat coach Andy Richards in Brisbane. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)
Former professional tennis player Ashleigh Barty (left) looks on to Brisbane Heat coach Andy Richards in Brisbane. (AAP Image/Dave Hunt)

The tennis ace was announced as a high-profile recruit for the Brisbane Heat team that is being put together for the first Women's Big Bash League this summer.

I haven't seen her hit a cricket ball yet but my sources around Queensland Cricket say she handles things pretty well since swapping a fibreglass racquet for a piece of willow.



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